Why I Love Scotland

   For years my memory served me poorly.

   I remembered, inaccurately as it transpired, that as English roads blur into Scottish ones something remarkable happens to the colours of the world – greens and blues bleed into one another, a murky grey dominates the horizon.

   Yet, as I head to spend a week of my summer on a Caledonian coast, I realise I was wrong all along.

   I may have been fortunate that my trip coincided with a defiant sun radiating down upon the nation, or that the ominous grey clouds which I recalled inhabiting the Scottish sky with perpetuity had taken a rare break too. More than likely, though, in the years since I lived here I’ve finally learnt how to look at things rather than simply to observe them, to feel the magnificence all around us. It may have been a decade since I left but, in many ways, I’m much younger now than I was back then.

   To view Scotland anew was to be amazed – the serenity of the place and the tranquility of the sky which blanketed me felt fantastic in the literal sense of the word. The peace and calm of the coast, as far away as imaginable from the city life I lead, was astounding and staggering – whilst holidays are often used to re-energise our bones, to give us a rest from the humdrum repetition of working life, this was something even greater. My week-long stay at The Tack Room , a fairy-tale house near Cocksburnpath booked through Sykes Cottage, was truly revitalising and galvanising.

   Whilst nearby towns were easily accessible, Dunbar (where I spotted some seals!) and North Berwick being two of the most prominent, the highlight of the trip was the remote cottage itself. Staring out of the window was truly remarkable. In the foreground, tiny and delicate birds fluttered by with regularity - sometimes in synchronous swarms, other times with free abandon. Harvests reached for the heavens, swaying from side-to-side in the delicate sea-breeze.

   Further afield the sky and ocean seemed to stretch into infinity, each telling stories as the night turned to day – bright red hues echoing nightly outwards as the evenings surrendered and mornings greeting us with the stark, clean clarity of primary colours shining with youthful vigour. The cacophony of urban life disappears whilst staying here – the gentle songs of nature, a rush of wind or the daily melodies of a choir of early birds, are the only noises likely to touch us. They are as welcome as they are lovely.

   If, like me, you often find the hustle and bustle, the daily grind, sometimes getting you down, I can’t recommend highly enough a trip to the Tack Room. It’s a place to go, gather your thoughts, to appreciate the beauty in the world, and to completely de-stress. You can, of course, use your stay to experience some further Caledonian delights – the Scottish Sea Bird Centre and East Links Farm are both close by and each comes hugely recommended from this writer – but it’s the retreat to equanimity I most heartily approve. Even the beach, a five minute saunter on quiet paths and secrets tunnels, is a quiet place of simple, understated wonder.

   I recall how I used to remember Scotland, all the colours I couldn't or wouldn't see, and I swear to myself I'll never grow so old again.

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